21.6 x 13.8 cm. xiv, 291 pp. + 16 pp. with 33 illus.
During his life, W.B.Yeats formed only a few literary friendships from which he received as much as he gave. One of the foremost was his association with George William Russell. ‘A.E. was my oldest friend’ he confided to an admirer on Russell’s death in 1935. ‘We began our work together.’
This engaging, carefully researched book charts the history and evaluates the significance of the first twenty-three years of that work. It begins with the early months of 1884 when Yeats and Russell first met at the Arts Schools in Kildare Street, Dublin, and ends with their divisive quarrels in 1907 about the policies of the Abbey Theatre.
Taking as its focal point Yeats’s summary of the association – ‘between us as always there existed that antagonism that unites dear friends’ – the book sensitively gauges the pressures that each man exerted on the other. It also examines the way these pressures both affected their respective imaginative developments and shaped the course of the literary movement.
'What Kuch sets out to do, he does scrupulously and with such attention to detail, minutiae even, that his scholarly apparatus takes up nearly a quarter of the book. It is indeed "carefully researched".' Derek Mahon in The Irish Times